Christy Dignam fears this is the last Christmas he will get to spend with his loved ones

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Christy Dignam fears this is the last Christmas he will get to spend with his loved ones
Christy Dignam fears this is the last Christmas he will get to spend with his loved ones

Christy Dignam fears this is the last Christmas he will get to spend with his loved ones, he confessed to the Irish Mirror.

The Aslan frontman was told he had only six months to live in 2013 when diagnosed with a rare form of incurable blood cancer.

But almost six years on, Christy, 58, has somehow defied all the odds.

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He said: “When you get into a situation like this, everything you do you’re looking at it like it could be the last time you do it.

“I have grandkids now and I’m looking at them this year and saying to myself, ‘Is this going to be my last Christmas with them?’

“My three grandkids come down for Christmas. They spend the night in the house. Santa comes here.

“I make the trifle every year – that’s my tradition.”

Christy Dignam performing on stage (Image: Harry Scott/Redferns)

Christy told how “it’s weird” to think this could be his last Christmas but added he is keen to remain upbeat.

He said: “That’s the way I am. I could go on for the next 10 years – I don’t know. You can’t just sit on your bleeding arse for 10 years waiting for the thing to kill you.

“When it dilapidates me, I’ll stop gigging then – until then I’m going to keep going. I feel great. I don’t feel sick.

“If there’s ever a nuclear war there will be Aslan and cockroaches left – nothing else.”

The Dubliner has had chemotherapy three times to keep his condition amyloidosis at bay.

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He said, “When I came out of hospital first, I had six months to live. I thought I was dying at the time.

“I was told if I had anything on my bucket list, if I wanted to see anywhere, or go to a holiday, to do it now.

“It really depends on how you respond to the treatment. Like Martin McGuinness, he died from the same condition I have.

“He was an amazing man, I thought. If you look how far he came from where he started – to being one of Ian Paisley’s mates.”

Aslan’s (L to R) Alan Downey, Rodney O’ Brien, Christy Dignam, Joe Jewell, Billy McGuinness (Image: Gareth Chaney Collins)

Christy is still in shock from losing three members of his band’s inner circle last year.

Keyboard player Patrick Fitzpatrick passed away aged 60 from liver cancer in April.

The group’s social media boss Grace McDermot also died that month from carbon monoxide poisoning during a house fire in Limerick.

And band manager Svenn Braamark had a heart attack and was overcome with smoke inhalation while helping put out a fire in Sweden in May.

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Reflecting on the tragic deaths, Christy said: “Look at last year, if you had said to me a year ago, ‘Listen, somebody out of your band is going to be dead by this time next year’, I would have said it was me – without a shadow of a doubt. In the meantime, three people associated with the band died in a year – and I wasn’t one of them. Life is strange.”

The singer also revealed he was hit with a “bad” bout of the blues when his illness temporarily forced him to stop performing.

He said: “It’s great to be back gigging again. When I stopped, I went through a real bad depression. I started thinking, ‘Look at your life. You’ve wasted your life. There’s kids starving in the world. And what did you do? You wasted your life singing’.

“I got into this really dark place. It was only when I started gigging again that it lifted. It was very weird.”

Christy Dignam and Finbar Furey (Image: RTE)

Christy is now looking forward to Aslan’s three sold-out gigs in Dublin.

He said: “This Christmas gig we do Vicar Street, we have done it for the past 17 years – I think we skipped one year when I was in hospital or maybe two years. So, for me now, it’s part of Christmas. It’s almost as part of the tradition now. It’s amazing.

“It used to be just one gig we would do at Christmas – and now it’s three.

“Our first album Feel No Shame is 30 years old this year and we’re touring that album – so that’s what we’re doing in Vicar Street.

“The songs still stand up today. They’re still great songs.”

Christy is set for a busy 2019 when he will release his autobiography and has already returned to the studio to record songs.

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He revealed: “We are writing an album. Obviously when I got out of hospital at first, the priority was just to get back on the road.

“Because with the chemo, I was getting up [on stage] one day and I forgot the words to half the songs.

“It’s called chemo brain – it just wipes your memory. When we first got back after I’d been in hospital, it was just about learning all the songs again and getting back into the rhythm of gigging.

“As soon as we got that sorted, we started writing. It’s great to be writing again.”

Lucy with Christy Dignam

“I’m doing an album with Finbar Furey as well – so I’m kind of hopping from one [project] to the other. When you get an illness like this, it certainly focuses you. Your whole priority system changes and what is important to you changes.

“When you go through this your whole life changes.

“That’s obviously going to be reflected in the new songs. The music is going great.”

  • Aslan will play Vicar Street tonight and on Saturday and Sunday.

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Source: Celebrity News Ireland